May 21, 2018

Why being the first drug to market matters

Novartis CFO Harry Kirsch. Photo: Ruben Sprich/AFP via Getty Images

The new FDA-approved drug from Amgen and Novartis that treats migraines, Aimovig, is the perfect example of why being the first in line for any new drug approval is so important.

Why it matters: Getting out of the gate first and pricing below independent cost-effectiveness estimates may give the pharmaceutical giants the upper hand even once the other migraine drugs hit the market.

How it happens:

  • Eli Lilly, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Alder Biopharmaceuticals are each coming out with their own versions of similar medications.
  • Amgen set the list price of Aimovig at $6,900 annually (an amount that doesn’t reflect discounts or rebates), which was about 30% less than what Wall Street expected, per Damian Garde at STAT.
  • “The first-mover advantage for (Amgen and Novartis) will allow for them to frame the payer discussions and gain initial traction in the marketplace,” Vamil Divan of Credit Suisse wrote to investors.
  • Amgen will “ultimately retain 35–40% market share long-term” because it was first, and could lead to $1.8 billion of peak annual sales, Geoffrey Porges of Leerink Partners said in an investor note.

Go deeper: Researchers continue seeking new clues on how heredity may play a role in migraines.

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In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the "Namaste Trump" rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump was addressing a massive rally after arriving with members of the U.S. first family in Ahmedabad, northwest India, Monday for a two-day visit.

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties, particularly in the military dimension, as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is demonstrating the importance of the visit by holding a "Namaste Trump Rally" at a packed 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world's largest cricket venue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 46 mins ago - World

Concern over coronavirus spread: Italy, South Korea and Iran report more cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran jumped on Sunday as infections in mainland China continued to grow, the latest figures show.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures amid rising case numbers, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy